François-Auguste Gevaert

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François-Auguste Gevaert

François-Auguste Gevaert (31 July 1828 in Huysse, near Oudenaarde – 24 December 1908 in Brussels) was a Belgian composer.

Life[edit]

His father was a baker, and he was intended for the same profession, but better counsels prevailed and he was permitted to study music. He was sent in 1841 to the Ghent Conservatory, where he studied under Édouard de Sommere and Martin-Joseph Mengal. Then he was appointed organist of the Jesuit church in that city.

Soon Gevaert's compositions attracted attention, and he won the Belgian Prix de Rome which entitled him to two years' travel. The journey was postponed during the production of his first opera and other works. He finally embarked on it in 1849. After a short stay in Paris he went to Spain, and subsequently to Italy.

In 1867 Gevaert, having returned to Paris, became "Chef de Chant" at the Academie de Musique there, in succession to the popular operatic composer Fromental Halévy. Four years later, he was appointed head of the Brussels Conservatoire, in which role he achieved his greatest fame.

Though during his lifetime Gevaert's own music enjoyed considerable success in Belgium (it included no fewer than a dozen operas, two of which were Quentin Durward and Le Capitaine Henriot), it is now forgotten, save for some of his short choral pieces, which have recently been issued on CD by the Fuga Libera label. Nowadays he is mostly remembered, even in his native land, less as a composer than as a teacher, historian, and lecturer. His many prose writings include a Treatise on Instrumentation (still sometimes used today), a book on harmony, and a Vade Mecum for organists. His notable students included Alfred Wotquenne.

Selected works[edit]

  • Te Deum (1843)
  • Ouverture Flandre au lion (1848)
  • Fantasia sobre motivos españoles (1850)
  • Requiem (1853)
  • Grand' Messe de Noël Puer Natus est Nobis (1907)
  • Quartet for clarinet, horn, bassoon and piano

Secular Cantatas

  • België (1847)
  • Le roi Léar (1847)
  • Évocation patriotique (1856)
  • De nationale verjaerdag (1857)
  • Le retour de l'armée (1859)
  • Jacob van Artevelde (1864)

External links[edit]

This article incorporates text from a publication that prior to 1923, is in the public domain: The Etude (Philadelphia: Theodore Presser Company)